NEW YORK (AP) -- Wall Street headed for another precipitous drop Friday as fears of a punishing global recession stirred panic among investors and sent world financial markets into a tailspin. The Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 550 points, triggering a freeze in selling.
Fearing more carnage in world equity markets, big hedge funds and other institutional investors have been pulling out their money en masse in a bid to reduce risk and raise cash -- moves that only intensify the selling.
Ahead of the market's open, Dow Jones industrial average futures fell the maximum allowed limit of 550, or 6.27 percent, to 8,224. That triggered circuit breakers that automatically freeze selling until the market's 9:30 a.m. EDT open. However, traders can still buy stocks and send the market higher. Selling eased slightly later in the morning, leaving Dow futures 548 points lower.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index futures was also down the maxium allowed 60 points, or 6.56, to 855.20, and the Nasdaq 100 index futures was down 85.00, or 6.20 percent, to 1,175.75.